To quote from Zombieland: “You gotta enjoy the little things.” Keep that in mind when watching Dead Snow. I had to watch it twice; the first time I kept falling asleep during it- it wasn’t the movie’s fault, I had been to Georgia and back, and I was rather tired. What I saw of it, I liked. I finally watched it again, snooze free, and I have to say I thought it was a better movie when I was dozing in and out; evidently I was only awake for the highlights.
Dead Snow starts like many horror movies with a group of twenty-somethings spending a weekend in a isolated cabin in the middle of nowhere. The nowhere this time is high up in the mountains of Øksfjord, in Norway. The cabin belongs to Sara (her family, actually) and she has decided to hike in across the mountains and meet her friends there. Those friends include her boyfriend, Vegard, and Martin, a med student who can’t stand the sight of blood. There’s also Erland, the movie nerd, Roy, who is perpetually horny, and the nubile hotties Chris, Liv, and Hanna.
No one finds it disturbing that Sara has yet to make it to the cabin when they arrive, she’s hiking over the flippin’ mountains after all. They don’t become disturbed until a stranger just happens to stop by to critique their organic coffee, drink their beer, and tell them a little story of sadistic Nazis who occupied Øksfjord during WWII. It’s a tale involving stolen treasure and the locals rising up against the cruel Colonel Herzog and his men. The Nazis were driven into the mountains and left for dead.
The grizzled stranger leaves, heading back into the snowy night, and unknown to the vacationing youngsters, meets a gruesome end. The next morning, with no sign of Sara, and worried after the stranger’s story, Vegard sets out to search for his girlfriend. Partying at the cabin, Erland finds a box hidden under the floor that contains gold coins and jewelry. Nothing says “awesome holiday” like frolicking with lost Nazi riches. Or getting it on in the outhouse.
Before you can say Dæmning! there are living(?), breathing (?), growling Nazi zombies beating down the doors like the big bad wolf. These Nazis mean some serious business. I’m not sure if they are true zombies, but they are some monster bad mofos, and a nice change to the recent spate of living dead represented in the movies, or all of horror. These zombies, if that’s what they be, are a throwback to the old Italian zombies of yesteryear.
Dead Snow isn’t really funny; it made me smile a few times, but I never really laughed. Director and co-writer Tommy Wirkola tries to go balls to the wall with this thing, but can never really pull it all together. And too many things don’t add up: Why was the stranger out there on the mountain? Didn’t Sara, and/or her family, know about the box of gold stored in such an obvious place? Who is going to put their arm around somebody when they are crazy swingin’ a mad hatchet at some Nazi zombies?
Yet, it has a certain glee, a certain “Hey, watch this!” cheerfulness to it. Sometimes a movie is what it is, and with all of its shout-outs to the better films that came before it, Dead Snow is one of those little things in life bathed in blood and intestines that can be enjoyed.
3.5 out of 5